T-shirts around the stadium proclaimed, “Fill the Bill,” and the purple followers came through. The crowd sent rumbles through the Great Plains as Kansas State took the field in front of a record opening day home crowd. As if there wasn’t enough roar in the crowd to start the game, Harley Day in Manhattan sent more noise bouncing off the walls of Bill Snyder Stadium. With Snyder’s return to the sidelines, much anticipation has grown for the Wildcats and having UCLA as an opponent only increased the excitement.
Getting back at Kansas should have been the driving force for Iowa State. Last season, the Jayhawks kept the Cyclones out of the Big 12 Championship game with a come-from-behind, overtime victory in Lawrence. For Iowa State, thoughts of revenge may have been clouded by the fact that their team has been suffering through a winless conference campaign in 2006. It quickly became evident that no amount of revenge, redemption, or fan support that shuffled into Jack Trice Stadium could lift the Cyclones toward victory…
Missouri football has been on the cusp of many breakthrough moments and when placed in the national spotlight, their program crumbles. Carrying one of their best records in years, the Tigers welcomed traditional power, Oklahoma, to Memorial Stadium in Columbia. Again, opportunity knocked and Missouri had a good enough team that could answer the door and storm through. However, the Sooners’ agenda failed to coincide with Missouri’s plan and Oklahoma kept all hopes of a Missouri resurgence bolt-locked.
Nebraska has experienced some hard times lately under new head coach Bill Callahan. A program rich in national titles and winning streaks experienced their first season without a bowl last year. A team that history has dubbed “The Big Red Machine” has been recently reduced to “The Big Red Wind-Up Toy.” But, a win over Kansas State would make them bowl-eligible again. Walking around Lincoln prior to the game, you wouldn’t know that the Cornhuskers have been struggling. Fan support is strong and the folks in this state make football Saturdays an event that rivals Christmas.
One Oklahoma debacle shy of being undefeated, the Longhorns visited. Boulder flaunting their weapons – namely quarterback Vince Young and tailback Cedric Benson. Even the live Buffalo that leads Colorado onto the field appeared intimidated by the strong Texas contingent and their all cowboy band playing “Texas Fight” on repeat. On yet another gorgeous day at Folsom Field with the autumn foliage outlining the Rocky Mountains, a raucous, yet wary crowd gathered to see if the Buffaloes had what it took to lasso the Longhorns.
Everything came together nicely for Colorado’s homecoming game – perfect weather in the low seventies and an enthusiastic crowd. However, the Buffaloes neglected to schedule the traditional cupcake opponent. Instead, the undefeated and speedy Cowboys rode into town looking to spoil the day. Many fans, including the band, traveled from Stillwater to see their Oklahoma State team continue their winning ways. Our seats had us surrounded and devoured by energetic fans colored in proud orange.
Two undefeated teams from major conferences highlighted this confrontation in Madison. The game alone lent itself to heat up conversations. But, the controversy over a musket brought discussions to a boil. Yes, a musket. For sixty years, West Virginia and its mountaineer mascot has shot a traditional musket celebrating each touchdown. Like most places, laws in Wisconsin state that no firearm of any kind is allowed in stadiums or arenas. The Mountaineers got the green light on the issue when it was made clear that only gunpowder is used and blasts would be limited. The prop was not well received by Badger fans as West Virginia poured onto the field led by the Mountaineer who pulled the trigger to announce their arrival. The musket was startling and made a sound that can only be heard on the History Channel or war reenactments at Williamsburg. A cacophony of boos shattered the air and pointed down at the visiting team.